For over a year now, I’ve attempted to get a good photograph of Sonya and Nancye’s Friendly Advice booth at Latte’ Da Coffee Shop inside Page and Palette Bookstore. First of all, the popular attraction is usually set up in front of a window, so there’s always too much light for a good photo, and also, people aren’t really fond of being photographed while they’re, “in session.”
But alas, I persevered and came up with these slightly glaring images for you to see.
Nancye Jennings and Sonya Bennett are like many Fairhope residents. They looked for their gifts, and then found a way to offer them to the community. Knowing they had years of experience with . . . well, just about everything, they approached Page and Palette owner Karin Wilson and offered their services. The store built the low-tech, but oh-so-efficient booth, and it was decided the 5 cent fee for advice would go into a scholarship fund.
Above is my friend, author Dr. Karyn Tunks. She’s like most people who are hesitant at first, thinking it’s too immature, silly, scary, weird . . . whatever, but after (their adorable friend drags them over saying, “you’ll love it, I promise!”) just a few minutes, find themselves deeply entranced with the wisdom and kindness of the “advice ladies.”
When I visited the advice booth, I thought I would just humor myself and get a good story, but then they asked me to choose a card from a deck and read it aloud. “Oh, it’s one of those hocus-pocus card tricks you see in Jackson Square in New Orleans my Sunday School teacher warned me about.” I thought. But after reading the card, which wasn’t hocus-pocus at all, Sonya and Nancye looked at me and said, “What do you think about reliability?” After a brief back and forth exchange, they asked, “What is it that’s on your mind today?”
“Well, nothing really.” I told them. But then, I reconsidered and said, “You know, there is this one thing that keeps bothering me . . .” and suddenly, we were off to the races. They’ve raised kids, taught school, and probably wrangled horses. Between the two of them, they have experience with the good, bad and the ugly. Nothing is too shocking for Nancye and Sonya, and conversations always remain confidential.
Soothing, calming, never judgmental, Fairhope’s very own advice booth draws a crowd of men, women, children and adults, who often wait in line to hear what these wise, generous women have to say. Sometimes, it’s nice to just have someone sit and listen to us.
And for only 5 cents, it’s totally worth the wait.
Stealing all the business away from bossy Lucy, Sonya and Nancye’s Friendly Advice Booth is open Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning at 11:30am until whenever the concerns of the city are met.
Gulf Coast Newspapers now has a new version, THE BALDWIN TIMES, which will cover all of Baldwin County in one issue! On news stands every Friday, my column, Southern with a Gulf Coast accent, will be featured in this issue. I’m very excited to be part of this new paper, so if you’re in the area, check it out!
And . . . the Fairhope Supply Co. mobile web site has been updated, so it should work much better on your phones and ipad. Give it a try and let me know how you like it!